So, Malawi part 3, hmm, how to talk about it, how to sum it up?
Considering, I am still thinking about it, and the lessons I learned, I think ill start off by talking about Madisi, RiseMalawi, and some updates of the kids I mentored last year, as well as the role my group played there.
Madisi, the trading center in between the Capital, Lilongwe and the next dot on most maps, Kusungu. I have only ever seen Madisi on one map. (I think God made that map, just for my heart) So, Madisi has changed quite a bit in the course of a year; some people have left, businesses gone and some changes I was not ready for. I must define a trading center. In my words, I’d say it is like a rest stop. In my context, if you were driving on a highway for hours, and hours, and all you see is scenery, then the upcoming sign notifies you can pull over and take a rest in 4 miles… you are greeted with vending machines, restrooms, and sometimes even a restaurant or two. As for Madisi, in the context of Malawi, a mostly rural country, Madisi is off the M1, THE main road there, and the trading center is the shops, the market, the place to meet a cabanza (bike taxi), or catch a minibus to the next stop on the map. You can walk right through the trading center, its where you would do your grocery shopping, or even for some buy meat. (yes, this is where you might see the whole dead cow hanging… for sale)
Most of that stayed the same, the set up of the actual trading center was the same, but upon first glance, I could not find my favorite cabanza bike guy…and a friend had found me walking though the area, and told me his mom has passed away…some businesses had gone, after the devaluing of the kwacha, businesses could not gain.
Although, meaningless to most map makers, Madisi will always be valuable in my memories.
RiseMalawi Ministries, ugh, they impress me still! With Tinashe in the states, getting her Masters degree, RM has hired a female staff, Kattie. From when I was at RM last year, one of the best updates I had heard was, all 5 of the camp leaders that I helped interview and pick for the camp leader position, had ALL been selected for UNIVERSITY! This was amazing, so, to see RiseMalawi this time around, and see all new camp leaders, wow! Not even to see them, but to see them in action, that is what is beyond impressive. Everyone put on your “thinking cap,” and visualize that trading center I created for you earlier. Add houses made of bricks and various roofs made of sticks or metal, and spread things out. There is a lot of land, and people come from far and wide. Our camp leaders, they come from villages in and around Madisi, some of our kids, walk 1 hour to program. So again, you must picture this scene, and when we were there, brown and green dried land, as it was the season where what was left of the crops were being burned down and ready for the next growing season. Now, see one 20 something year old camp leader girl or guy leaving their house to arrive at the office by 10am. One guy, Isaac, he comes from 7kms away. (I will let you do the math on that one) These young people have so much responsibility from waking up, and doing chores at thier homes, drawing water, taking care of family members and then off to work. Upon arrival, we as a complete team, us visitors and all, jumped right into a Bible study, worship session or time of prayer. RiseMalawi is intentional from start to finish. After a time of worship, we talk about the days’ schedule and assign what camp leader is in charge of what topic. Another great technique that RM uses, is critical thinking and teamwork. Before we head to program, we share what topic we are teaching, how the lesson plan looks and open the room for questions, critiques, and concerns. This is a bit intimidating for me, but when my team shared what they liked about RM, this was one of the standout praises! Really thinking critically for the planning allows for the program, and teaching to be successful!
I could go on and on about RiseMalawi… the camp leaders are just amazing, so I am happy to share about them, and their talents! The Staff, Kattie, Za and Mavuto, they are really doing a great job of leading by example, opening their homes, and schedules for the community as well as expanding RiseMalawi, by dreaming big! (If you want to see if for yourself, Id love to guide another trip)
Lastly, you can see, and read that we had a fun time introducing ourselves, Molly, Holly and Ally(pronounced OLLY) and we were there to do service with RiseMalawi, incorporating ART and MUSIC! Holly and I had been planning this trip, since she has wanted to go for awhile, but never been on a plane. We had planned for so long to have more than just the two of us, however, when buying tickets came up, we lost interested folks because of the cost of the flight. Totally understandable, just sad, Holly and I were aiming to have a group..
In God’s timing, and humor I’d like to add, He introduced us to Nina who knows Tinashe from Philadelphia, as well as her church having some connections to another UrbanPromise International ministry who was interested in traveling with a group, and Ally who has always prayed for Malawi and dreamt of a day she would actually go! I am blessed to have worked, and interacted with each young woman. Holly, Ally and Nina have all taught me things, I will cherish, motivated me, and became really unique friends of mine.